Bold, flashy, eye-catching designs line the large window frames at the newly opened Wavvz Concepts shop on Main Street in Worcester. With brightly lit puffer jackets and vests, some customers have even compared the colorful display at the corner of Madison Street to the Red Light District in Amsterdam.
The new shop held a grand opening on Nov. 17, with a fashion show on the sidewalk outside of 651 Main St. Owner Emmanuel Qlynton Carboo – known as Q – his wife, Jaribel Carela, and their 2-month-old baby donned matching powder blue, teal and pink outfits.
“The store is ‘stitching your creative ideas to life,’” said Carboo, of the custom clothing store affiliated with his fashion brand WavvzNewage in the city’s Main South neighborhood.
The occasion opened the doors, welcoming the community into the new space – which offers more than just clothing, offering custom hats beginning at $25 to jackets at $175.
So far, the feedback has been positive. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that it is one of the coolest places in Worcester,” Carboo told MassLive recently.
Carboo teaches sewing, print design and mixed media and puts on frequent fashion shows while he designs for famous clients such as BIA, Dave East, Kevin Hart, Wyclef Jean and Steve Aoki.
“It’s been one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen to watch his business blossom,” said Laura Marotta, the executive director of Creative Hub Worcester, located across the street.
The concept space, which has become a center for local community fashion, was a long time in the making.
Carboo, 31, grew up in Ghana and moved to the United States in 2012. He remembers how his mother used to sew garments to sell as a side hustle to keep his family out of poverty.
So, as things got hectic while Carboo was figuring out what he wanted to do in school here – he bought a sewing machine and started sewing. Two shirts materialized, and he instantly got positive feedback from his friends.
From there, he kept designing. He frequented artists’ shows where his work got noticed and collaborated with artists to connect with famous clients. In 2017, after gaining some success, he registered the WavvzNewage company and devoted his entire time to making his dream a reality.
His business started in a three-bedroom apartment in Worcester that he shared with friends. Later, it moved into his mother’s kitchen before he secured a small studio space in the city. Last year, Creative Hub Worcester, a nonprofit that leases spaces to artisans, granted him a basement location to grow. Carboo moved into his current location three months ago.
“They say, ‘starting from the bottom; now we’re here,’” said Charldyn Valcin, the event’s official master of ceremonies, who put on the grand opening event. “He has arrived.”
However, it wasn’t always a smooth ride. Carboo’s wife is also the company’s chief operating officer. “At the beginning, it was rough,” Carela said.
Carela first met Carboo four years ago through Facebook – where a message on a photo of Carboo’s designs turned into a friendship that later became a lifetime partner.
Last year, the couple decided to forgo Christmas presents, instead investing savings into buying industrial sewing machines for the business. The investment has paid off.
Now, the store has three volunteer tailors.
“We had people knocking on the door,” said Carela. Of course, many were looking for jobs, she said, but three women were happy to volunteer their time for the chance to sew again. The recent immigrants, who were all previously tailors, don’t speak English well but found community in sewing together.
“They found a place they can come in, be themselves – it’s just huge,” said Carela.
In addition to building the business, Carboo volunteers at the Jubilee Career Center for the Performing Arts, teaching students graphic design, fashion and sewing.
Judy Perry, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit, admires Carboo’s talent, calling his work “cutting edge.” She noted how Carboo can “pull something out of his hat,” making a concept a reality by the next day. Before you know it, Perry said, the garments will be on the racks, and everyone is vying to get one.
The ultimate goal, Carboo said, is to create a fashion district by supporting other businesses. He hopes to help fill the vacant storefronts that plague the downtown area.
“The statement that we have coming for the city is like no other statement that anybody else can replicate,” said Rose Salerno, one of two interns for Carboo. “They have something really special, and the team they’re developing – I think, is going to go really far.”
The store is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and is closed on Sunday. More information about the store can be found at www.wavvznewage.com.
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